THIS IS "ON THE LINE"..AND I'M BRIAN LEHRER...THE DISCUSSION WE'RE ABOUT TO HAVE I WAS RELUCTANT TO HAVE AT FIRST..THAT'S BECAUSE I HATE THE THOUGHT OF AIRING ANOTHER PUBLIC RADIO STATION'S INTERNAL DIRTY LAUNDRY....BUT A NUMBER OF THE ON-AIR HOSTS AT WBAI ASKED ME REPEATEDLY TO DO THIS SEGMENT, AND SO WE WILL...BECAUSE THEY FEEL THAT THE FUTURE OF WBAI-STYLE COMMUNITY RADIO IS AT STAKE IN LABOR NEGOTIATIONS THAT ARE NOW TAKING PLACE AND IN THE HEADQUARTERS OF PACIFICA RADIO, WHICH OWNS WBAI, AS THEY FIGURE OUT HOW TO GRAPPLE WITH FEDERAL GOVERNMENT BUDGET CUTS.
JUST BY WAY OF BACKGROUND, FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO DO NOT LISTEN TO BAI, ITS A DIFFERENT KIND OF PUBLIC RADIO STATION FROM THIS ONE IN MANY WAYS...IT LEANS MUCH MORE TOWARD POLITICAL ADVOCACY IN ITS ESSENTIAL MISSION....ADVOCACY FROM THE LEFT, PRIMARILY.....AND IT WEARS ITS POLITICS PROUDLY.
IT WILL NOT ACCEPT ANY CORPORATE UNDERWRITING AND ITS OWNED BY PACIFICA, A NATIONAL NETWORK OF SUCH COMMUNITY STATIONS AROUND THE COUNTRY. THE STATION HAS BEEN CONTROVERSIAL MANY TIMES, FOR MANY REASONS OVER THE YEARS---IT AIRED GEORGE CARLIN'S "7 DIRTY WORDS YOU CAN'T SAY ON TELEVISION," WHICH LED TO ONE OF THE KEY FREE SPEECH LAWSUITS IN RECENT DECADES. ITS RADICAL POLITICS HAVE MADE IT A FAVORITE OF WASHINGTON CONSERVATIVES WHO WANT TO DEFUND PUBLIC BROADCASTING, AND IT HAS A LONG HISTORY OF TUMULTUOUS INTERNAL POLITICS.
SO...IT'S IRONIC THAT THE CHARGES FLYING AROUND WBAI THESE DAYS ARE OF IT HIRING A UNION BUSTING FIRM, DISCRIMINATION AGAINST ITS VOLUNTEER PROGRAM HOSTS, AND AN EFFORT TO TURN IT INTO WHAT SOME STAFF MEMBERS CALL,"NPR LITE."
NOT TO MENTION THAT THEY ARE BARRED FROM DISCUSSING THE SITUATION ON THE AIR.....SO JOINING US NOW ON OUR AIR-------TO TALK ABOUT THE WBAI SITUATION ARE MIMI ROSENBERG, SHE IS A LEGAL AID LAWYER, WHO HOSTS A LABOR SHOW ON WBAI CALLED "BUILDING BRIDGES,"-----R. PAUL MARTIN, ANOTHER VOLUNTEER PRODUCER WHO IS ALSO A SHOP STEWARD IN THE BAI UNION REPRESENTING THE VOLUNTEER PRODUCERS-----AND NAN RUBIN, CHAIR OF THE STATION'S LOCAL BOARD OF DIRECTORS, AN UNPAID ADVISORY GROUP.
GOOD MORNINGTO ALL OF YOU (various good mornings)
MIMI ROSENBERG, LET ME START WITH YOU. EVERYONE I SPEAK WITH AT BAI SAYS, ITS SO IRONIC, MIMI HOSTS A LABOR SHOW BUT CAN'T TALK ABOUT OUR LABOR SITUATION. WHAT IS THE LABOR SITUATION AT WBAI.....AS YOU SEE IT?
MR: First of all, I should qualify I'm here representing the unpaid staff, which is an elected position at WBAI..and right now we're in contract negotiations...and despite you're description at the beginning Brian, the fact of the matter remains, when labor and management are in a negotiating period, there is oftem rancour, and it tends to push management to the right, and it tends to push the people negotating for wages and for benefits and for due process to the left
Right now, our most critical concern as unpaid staff is that after 9 years of unionization...we are in the United Electrical Workers Union....that we are about to be ousted, or at least management would like to oust us from the bargaining unit. That is not a wage issue, it is not a money issue, its an issue of preventing people from having a voice.
IN OTHER WORDS, JUST FOR OUR LISTENERS WHO MAY NOT BE FAMILIAR WITH WBAI, OR WHO MIGHT EVEN LISTEN AND NOT REALIZE WHO'S PAID, WHO'S UNPAID.......A FEW KEY PEOPLE ON STAFF THERE WHO WOULD BE RECOGNIZABLE AS AIR PEOPLE, BUT A LOT OF THE AIR STAFF THEY'RE..YOURSELF AND THE MANY OTHERS, ARE UNPAID VOLUNTEERS.
MR: 90% of the bargaining unit are "unpaid staff." We do the programming, I've done programming for 25 years. I do Labor Day, May Day Specials, I do two shows on BAI and also a great deal of the fundraising which is our bread and butter during the marathon period, with special programming.
So we are not just, and we don't like to be called "volunteers"......we do supply our labor free of charge to keep the station going for 36 years. We are the people who do the business work there, the support staff..and we are certainly, many of us are the producers. We comprise 90% of the bargaining unit as it is presently constituted.
AND WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF YOU ARE NOT REPRESENTED IN THE FUTURE IN LABOR NEGOTIATIONS? WOULD THAT EFFECT, FROM THE LISTENERS' POINT OF VIEW, WOULD THAT EFFECT WHAT THEY HEAR ON THE AIR
MR: I think it would effect many things that they hear on the air. First of all, I would be subject to having no voice at all in the program council which collectively makes decisions relative to the kind of programming that goes on the air..I could summarily be dismissed at will absolutely no issue, no grievance mechanism, and what I think it begins to do on a national level, is it begins to consolidate and centralize the power with the Pacifica Foundation and the Pacifica National Board and its head, Pat Scott in California.
That could critically change, I believe, the input and the kind of indigenous, community radio that WBAI in particular has been so successful with...and is growing in its success as demonstrated by our recent fundraising drive...so we would lose alot of the perogative..and I think we would also lose a lot of the controversial..and the diverse nature of the programming that presently exists.
And it would also put the paid staff in serious jeopardy because it would create a strike breaking force..if only 10 people are in the bargaining unit, and the rest are able to produce and engineer..then we would be a serious threat to our colleagues.
R. PAUL MARTIN, YOU'RE ALSO ELECTED TO REPRESENT THE UNPAID STAFF AS A SHOP STEWARD. TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THIS NOTION, AND I THINK MIMI WAS STARTING TO GET AT IT...THAT WBAI COULD THEN BE DOMINATED BY NATIONAL PROGRAMMING, AND TURNED INTO WHAT A FEW PEOPLE HAVE REFERRED TO AS "NPR LITE."...WHERE DOES THAT TERM COME FROM? HAVE YOU HEARD THAT AROUND THE STATION?
RPM: Well, I have heard it, but first let me clarify I'm the Chief Steward and I was elected by ALL the staff, both paid and unpaid.
OK..SO YOU'RE THE CHIEF STEWARD OF WBAI, REPRESENTING ALL THE UNION MEMBERS? OK
RPM: Yes....OK. We are very conceraned about what's coming up as national programming. Part of the reason why we're concerned about this is a lot of the planning seems to be getting done behind closed doors. The people out in California.....people should know that Pacifica has five radio stations....besides WBAI, there's WPFW in Washington, D.C. KPFT down in Texas, and KPFA in Berkeley, CA and KPFK in Los Angeles. The two California stations have filed with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting in an attempt to get Pacifica to open up its National Board meetings.
Pacifica gets about one and a half million dollars a year off the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and they're supposed to follow certain rules.....some of those rules being that they have to have their process, their National Board meetings mostly open to the public. In the past 2 years, they've only had an hour and 45 minutes of meetings open to the public, and one of the concerns is that Pacifica , from what we do know they've been talking about, wants to have a lot of national programming, and they want to water it down a lot, it seems to us.
WELL, THERE'S BEEN THE BEGINNING OF A NATIONAL PROGRAMMING MOVEMENT THERE, RIGHT? YOU NOW HAVE JERRY BROWN ON THE AIR ON A DAILY BASIS WITH A TALK SHOW...JULIANNE MALVEAUX TALK SHOW WAS GOING ON....
RPM: That started it....and the Julianne Malveaux show is sort of a case in point. They said, you MUST carry this, you can't not carry this , and it was sort of shoved down everybody's throat, and it went on, and it lasted for around a year, I think it was, and it was really a terrible failure. The program just didn't work. And it especially didn't work in New York. We think that it's sort of a bellweather of what we're going to run into with Pacifica trying to force national programming down everyone's throats. There's no process in terms of what they're putting on.
There are a small number of people in Pacifica itself, in California, who are determining what will go on, and when it will go on, and how much of it will go on and we don't think their judgement seems to be working out there very well.
Also, every hour of National Programming is an hour less of local programming. One of WBAI's enormous strengths is that it is a true community radio station. If you were coming from another country, and you listened to WBAI, you would get a flavor of a lot of what the issues are and a lot of what the people are like in New York City and surrounding areas by listening to WBAI.
WELL, WE ARE TALKING ABOUT WBAI, HERE ON WNYC. WE INVITE YOU TO CALL IN , ESPECIALLY IF YOU'RE A BAI LISTENER AND MIGHT HAVE AN OPINION ABOUT SOME OF THESE THINGS THAT ARE TAKING PLACE OR COULD TAKE PLACE AT THAT RADIO STATION WHICH A LOT OF THE FOLKS THERE FEEL CONSTRAINED FROM TALKING ABOUT ON THEIR AIR , SO WE'VE OPENED UP THIS SEGMENT HERE FOR A FEW OF THEM HERE. OUR PHONE NUMBER 212-267-WNYC, 267-9692......NAN RUBIN, TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT WHAT YOUR ROLE IS AS CHAIR OF THE LOCAL BOARD, AND HOW MUCH DO YOU AGREE WITH WHAT YOU'VE HEARD SO FAR?
NR: Well, I guess it's not a question of agreeing or not agreeing . The local board is really a local advisory board and it's one of the parts of the Pacifica structure. R. Paul mentioned that Pacifica is made up of 5 radio stations...In addition to the 5 radio stations that are licensed to the Pacifica Foundation which is an operating foundation, Pacifica also has two other operating units. One is their National Archives out in California which is probably one of the most extraordinary audio archives of things that have been recorded in the last half of the 20th Century, and the National News Bureau in Washington, D.C. and the 7 units make up all of the activites that involve Pacifica ....as well as interaction with the Corporation of Public Broadcasting, regulatory agencies ...and similar types of ....the national copyright organization, things like that.
The national board which holds the license and operates all of the actiivities of the foundation, the board of this non-profit organization. We call it the national board because it's differentiated from our local activities...each of the five stations has a local advisory board that is made up of people in the community who are station supporters, listeners and also a small number of staff people who are involved in terms of advisory activities in discussing the issues of the station and helping to support the operations as they can.
FROM WHAT I UNDERSTAND THERE'S NOT A WHOLE LOT OF LOVE LOST BETWEEN WBAI IN NEW YORK AND THE NATIONAL PACIFICA BOARD OR NETWORK?
NR: Well, I wouldn't put it in quite those terms, but I'd say that historically there's been a very dynamic tension and often conflict between what WBAI perceives as its interests here in New York and the interests Pacifica expresses as a national organization running several radio stations as well as these other things.
The National Office of Pacifica is in California, it comes and goes, some of that is friendly rivalry. WBAI is probably the largest community radio station in the United States and certainly one of the most important. The oldest community radio station in the United States is KPFA, which is a Pacifica Station out in California, also an outstanding, groundbreaking radio station.
So there's been a lot of dynamic between those two stations ongoing over the course of decades in terms of both coastal interests and also with this being somewhat of a federation of stations for a long time, how resources get allocated and through issues of sharing the wealth.
WHAT ABOUT THIS REPORT I'VE HEARD FROM SOME PEOPLE AT BAI THAT PACIFICA HAS ACTUALLY CONSIDERED SELLING WBAI TO MAKE MONEY OFF ITS VALUABLE LICENSE?
NR: Yeah, I know that's one of the things that some people have heard and its true..WBAI broadcasts from 99.5 FM in New York City and we have a listening area of about 75 miles. Our transmitter is located on the top of the Empire State Building. We broadcast at 50 thousand watts and we reach approximately 18 million people. Because it's a commercial license, if this license were going to be put on a commercial market its worth in the tens of millions of dollars. But that's also true for the license of KPFA radio, which is at 94.....I can never get the call letters..I mean the frequency right.............
ITS ALSO ON A COMMERCIAL BAND?
NR: It's also on a commercial band.....
IT COULD BE SOLD FOR A LOT OF MONEY?
NR: And also, KPFK, which is the license in Los Angeles also could be sold for a lot of money---because it's the the highest powered station in Southern California.
I DON'T WANT TO BE ALARMIST OR SENSATIONAL ABOUT THIS...YOU DON'T THINK .....THE OTHER GUESTS CAN ANSWER TOO......DO ANY OF YOU THINK THEY'RE ACTUALLY SERIOUSLY CONSIDERING SELLING BAI JUST TO GET MONEY TO OPERATE THEIR OTHER RADIO STATIONS AND PUTTING YOU GUYS OUT OF BUSINESS?
NR: The Board did, Brian, the Board did ask for an assessment of all the assets of the foundation including the buidings and the value of the frequencies . I think at this point its safe to say that there's no discussion whatsoever about selling any of the licenses of Pacifica, and if that discussion actually got put on the table I think I'd be the first one in line to really fight against that, (garbled/several voices) no interest whatsoever in eliminating the most valuable asset that it has. It would also not be a mistake to say we must be extraordinarily vigilant, because there are ideological differences, and much of it emanates from Pat Scott, who's the Executive Director of the Pacifica Foundation, and there are people who would indeed consider selling the license and have a different view of the kinds of programming that constitutes professionalism which many of us have always thought is rude.
The issue really becomes to what degree progressive programming and local autonomy can sustain itself. To what degree we remain a station that is unfettered by commercialism and commercial sponsors, and to some degree, even government funding...and they...kinds of values are pretty strong at WBAI....there are not all the members of the board, and indeed some of the people in control specifically, Pat Scott, who have that same value system.
BY THE WAY I SHOULD MENTION THAT I PLACED CALLS TO PAT SCOTT AND TO THE GENERAL MANAGER OF WBAI, NEITHER OF WHOM RETURNED MY CALLS..AND I WAS GOING TO INVITE THEM TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS DISCUSSION WITH YOU...BUT LET ME JUST ASK ONE MORE QUESTION BEFORE WE TAKE SOME PHONE CALLS, AND A LOT OF BAI LISTENERS WE SHARE WITH THAT STATION ARE CALLING IN.....LETS SEE...R. PAUL, I'LL ASK YOU....WHAT I HEAR FROM A NUMBER OF STAFF MEMEBERS IS THAT WBAI ..I DON'T KNOW IF ITS PACIFICA MANAGEMENT OR WBAI MANAGEMENT YOU ADDRESS THIS TO, BUT THAT THEY'RE HIRING A UNION BUSTING FIRM...THAT TERM, "UNION BUSTING FIRM" TO DEAL WITH YOU IN THESE NEGOTIATIONS
RPM: Yes, that's a fact.
WHAT DO YOU MEAN, A "UNION BUSTING FIRM?"
RPM: Alright....Pacifica, out in California has hired what's called the American Consulting Group, which also used to be known as the Center for Human resources and the West Coast Industrial Relations Associates .This is a firm that the AFL_CIO lists as a union busting firm. This firm brags to prospective clients that they have participated in over 2100 union elections and they have prevented unions from being formed, that they have won their elections.....which means the union has lost their elections, 700 times. And again, they're listed by the AFL-CIO as being union busters.....and Pacifica has spent 30 thousand of listener-sponsored money on them......so we think it's a travesty and a terrible thing that people who send in money to the Pacifica stations to keep the stations on the air, are having their money turned around and given to this union busting company to try and bust the unions at the various stations.
YOU THINK THAT AN AVOWEDLY LEFT WING RADIO STATION, RADIO NETWORK REALLY WANTS TO BUST ITS EMPLOYEES' UNION?
MR: I think that first of all, the term left-wing is a misnomer. There's a broad array of ideologocal concerns. If anything, this station is characterized by eclecticism..I personally wish there was more homogeneity, more of a working-class, anti-racist, anti-gay(garlbled) sensitivity, however, the answer is yes.
The Gay Men's Health Crisis Center in Manhattan worked very assiduously to try to prevent its staff from unionizing....when it comes to issues of power and control, progressives do not always internalize their politics. And the fact is, the actions of the Pacifica National Board and the Pacifica Foundation Director are very clear...the terminology in the contract are definitely ones that are characteristic of take-backs, and indeed, of trying to destroy people. When you take people and de-franchise 90% of the bargaining unit, that's called union busting.
BY THE WAY, LET ME TWEAK YOU A LITTLE BIT ON ONE THING--THAT HETEROGENEITY OF VIEWPOINT ON BAI...FROM WHAT I HEAR, PEOPLE AS FAR TO THE LEFT AS LYNN SAMUELS AND PLAYTHELL BENJAMIN HAVE BEEN ELIMINATED FROM THE STAFF FOR NOT TOWING THE PARTY LINE CLOSELY ENOUGH...
RPM: I don't think "party line" is quite it because ...in terms of homogeneity and Leftism, I am someone...I come from many years of Gay Movement organizing and I don't identify as being any kind of "hard-core" leftist, or anything like that, and I certainly say things on the air that some people would consider not at all "leftist" ..but other people do too. I think that especially with Samuels, that management , there were people who had personal vendettas against Lynn Samuels, and drove her out of BAI. I know less about the Playthell Benjamin thing.
NR: Brian, this is Nan...let me just say that in terms of this discussion, which I'm sitting here smiling about, I got a call last week from someone who was complaining to me that WBAI doesn't let "genuine" Marxist-Leninists on the air, and they've been trying for a very long time to get some genuine Marxist-Leninists on the air and don't understand why they're not allowed...so I think it would be hard to categorize the political spectrum that's actually expressed on WBAI.
LET'S TAKE SOME PHONE CALLS---JANE IN QUEENS, YOU'RE ON THE LINE
Jane: I've given money to BAI, and number one, I feel as a donor and someone who'd worked in the non-profit sector..the donors who are giving money should be notified of what is going on, because this station asks for our money and our pledges without telling us A) where this money is going...what it's being used for, such as hiring union busters, whatever,....Anybody who donates to a non-profit is entitled to know the staus of that organization...and on top of which, what is the actual affiliation? WBAI was not originally owned by Pacifica ..it was owned by somebody else...what were the terms of agreement by which Pacifica took over WBAI from the original person who had it...the original status of the organization..I know it was a commercial station...
RIGHT , BUT I DON'T WANT TO SPEND TOO MUCH TIME ON THAT HISTORY, BUT, NAN RUBIN....
Jane:......but doesn't it impact on what the rights of Pacifica are in terms of this station?....
NAN RUBIN, WHAT ABOUT HER ORIGINAL QUESTION REGARDING WHAT THE DONOR SHOULD BE TOLD ABOUT..HOW THEIR MONEY IS BEING USED?
NR: I agree that there should be complete disclosure on finances within Pacifica, I don't think we have anything to hide, either here at WBAI or within the budget of the whole Foundation, and the fiscal reports that we get...this is a radio station and the things that we have to spend our money on are general operations...there's a percentage of our budget which goes toward central services which includes many of the things I have mentioned before ...copyright fees, legal fees, etc...and all of the budget information for this organization is available...and I just made a note that maybe we should start printing our financial reports in our folio..I mean there's absolutely no reason we shouldn't have people aware of where our money goes
WANT TO ADDRESS THE HISTORY QUESTION TO THAT?
NR: I don't know the exact term...I only know that the station was donated to the Pacifica Foundation..I don't know if there were any particular terms about it ..it has been operated as one of the Pacifica stations since that time..
MR: I'd like to address the fundamental part..there are reports to the listeners and they're not comprehensive...there's a dirty laundry rule which I think needs to be questioned legally..among other things ...there should be space permitted, not just for people to blatantly deride or castigate the station, nor to use it for their own personal concerns, but to honestly give an appraisal of the kind of development issues going on, and that means from pursuing getting a space to locate to labor negotiations to the content of the programming. We have to be open, we have to do it much better, we have to have the community forum that allow our listeners to be more fully and comprehensively informed and thus participate better in the station.
NR: Yeah, we're actually planning a series of forums, in all the boroughs, Westchester, and New Jersey starting in September and we invite anyone who's interested to come and meet us when we start having these forums...we'll be announcing them over the air and also putting them in the folio.
TOM ON THE UPPER WEST SIDE, YOU'RE ON THE LINE
Tom: My question also had to do with the relationship between Pacifica and BAI. It seems to that if BAI gets something from Pacifica, it seems reasonable that Pacifica should have some stipulations on how BAI runs itself as a member of that group.
NR: Let me just say something I'd mentioned earlier, in some ways, the way that Pacifica runs is like a confederation...the stations negotiate with each other over some of the policies and some of the things that they do..including the decision that was made many years ago to set up a central office to help facilitate some of the kinds of issues that we're all facing together, to help streamline some of the administration and to help them deal with a lot of the same problems...WBAI is one out of 7 activities that's run by the Foundation, our interests are not always paramount as an individual part of that.
RPM: If anything, WBAI is usually the cash cow of Pacifica...we give a lot more than we get.
NR: That's true right now, but a few years ago when WBAI was 200 thousand dollars in debt, the money came from the Foundation to help us. It moves throughout the Foundation where its needed.
RPM: That was our money....BAI gives a certain amount of money, right now the levy is 13% of our income..goes to Pacifica..so Pacifica does get money from BAI..and in terms of telling BAI what to run, and all of that , basically it's a very small number of people in California trying to program everything including New York...and they have no consciousness of how New York is...the California programming is largely different from the New York programming ...
NR: New Yorkers at WBAI express very much what they want from the programming, all the program directors within Pacifica talk about the decisions that are being made and the plans that are being made about programming, and in fact, WBAI has a number of programs that it's trying to have included in the discussions around national programming . I want to just mention one other thing about national programming that didn't come up at all...Pacifica has been doing National Programming for decades, we have a nightly newscast every night at 6:00 which is the Pacifica national news, that's carried by more than 50 public radio stations around the country, and at 9:00 in the morning on weekdays, listeners can tune in to 99.5 and listen to "Democracy Now."which is probably the flagship national program that's being done as a Pacifica program right now...its hosted by Amy Goodman, who is WBAI's sterling news reporter and part of the whole shape of that program ...what it means in terms of national programming not just for Pacifica but for all of public radio, is because of WBAI's participation.
LET ME TAKE ANOTHER COUPLE OF CALLS BEFORE WE RUN OUT OF TIME..WE HAVE A FEW MORE MINUTES HERE ON THE LINE...AT WNYC, am 820....AS WE TALK ABOUT THE CURRENT CONTENTIOUSNESS BETWEEN STAFF AND MANAGEMENT AT WBAI PUBLIC RADIO ..AND THE WBAI..ITS NATIONAL OWNERS AND BOARD, THE PACIFICA FOUNDATION...WITH WBAI PROGRAM PRODUCERS MIMI ROSENBERG, R. PAUL MARTIN, AND NAN RUBIN, CHAIR OF THE STATION'S LOCAL BOARD OF DIRECTORS......AARON FROM CHELSEA...YOU'RE ON THE LINE...
Aaron: Yeah, Hi...I just want to say, for one thing, I find Jerry Brown's program to be one of the worst on the air anywhere..because of opinions and so on..I am a progressive and so on but I (garbled)....another thing, I find that WBAI, I stopped supporting it , because if there's any conflict between Blacks and Jews, it's automatically pro-Black, pro-Arab, pro-Palestinian , with no voice on the other side.
MR: Let me make some comment on both of those things...Jerry Brown's spot is one that has a great deal of acclaim and popularity, as well as controversy for other people..and that is again in many ways the hallmark of WBAI that we allow for broad diversity of concerns and opinions, and in terms of the considerations, I happen to have a Jewish surname, and a Jewish identity culturally and historically, and I will tell you that there is significant programming that I have done, and others , for 25 years that have tried to with honesty and concern, debate all the many issues of racial contentiousness within this, our society...and that is, if anything one of the grand beauties of WBAI...that it is a station that has looked with profound concern at the issue of racism in the society without at all denigrating any of the various ethnic and religious groups within the City, and it is something we all take great pride in..
Aaron No, when the Hasidim asked for consideration at Rosh Hashannah from the Carnival parade, that their service.....
MR: They were on my program..as a matter of fact, too, a critical Rabbi from the Crown Heights community from a Lubavitcher group, actually were on my program and were discussing the issue and a resolution was reached between those two communities and that is something that is not paramount to the issues we're discussing ...its one of the things which makes BAI exciting.
OK, ONE MORE...ABBY IN MANHATTAN , YOU'RE ON THE LINE...
Abby: Hi, I really want to thank you for your show. I've been a devoted listener to BAI for like 25 years and I think this is important for listeners to know...just like today there's an Op Ed piece on NPR's National Board, we have to place what's going on in BAI in the context of the Telecommunications Act and a consolidation of information and a lack of access..it's something to know that there is a hotline number you can call, which is 212-465-7562 for an update on what's going on at WBAI..there's going to be a national board meeting at the end of September . September 29th, that we urge all listeners both of NYC and WBAI to come and participate in the discussion as to saving democracy in the Pacifica Network.
ALL RIGHT, THANK YOU VERY MUCH..AND WE ARE JUST ABOUT OUT OF TIME ..I JUST WANT TO ASK THE TWO OF YOU AND YOU CAN SAY ANYTHING YOU WANT IN THE LAST 30 SECONDS..I'M CURIOUS JUST FOR THE PROGRAM PRODUCERS HERE IF THERE'S ANYTHING YOU ARE ASKING THE LISTENERS TO DO AS THESE BATTLES GO ON..GO AHEAD R. PAUL MARTIN...
RPM: Basically, that number 212-465-7562 is a number that the listeners have set up...people should call that..if people want to they can write to us at the station, they can write to me R. Paul Martin c/o WBAI, 505 8th Ave. NY, NY, 10018. We have people to whom we think they should write, they should write to the Pacifica National Board who are actually doing this union busting or who are approving it, and tell them not to do it Those are the things we really need to have them do.
MR: There's two things One they should continue to support BAI, it's community based, free speech (garbled) like some of the controversies, radio, and we need it desperately at this time...in addition to that people should write, definitively, to the station, and cc it to R. Paul Martin, our Chief Steward, for the purpose of maintaining the bargaining unit and due process and democratic rights as they've been constituted in our representation package for the last 9 years. Thanks very much, Brian.
NR People can cc me as well. The local Board does need to know what kinds of comments we're getting from listeners , from people who are concerned . I want to make sure it's understood that Pacifica continues to be under attack politically on a national level. Just this past week, Representative Hefly put in an amendment on the House floor to defund the Corporation for Public Broadcasting by 1 million dollars, specifically targeted at Pacifica radio. There's nothing there but a political vendetta. The system within public broadcasting and within Pacifica remains extremely fragile and I think we need all support we can get. We need help to have Pacifica remain as strong as possible, especially since we depend so much on our listener support because we won't take commercial underwriting or corporate money, but the tension between programmers and the programming interests of the station, bewteen limited number of air-time and all of the different kinds of issues and individuals that want to be on the air have been also a hallmark of Pacifica from the very beginning
WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO LEAVE IT THERE...MIMI ROSENBERG, R. PAUL MARTIN AND NAN RUBIN , THANK YOU ALL FOR COMING ON..AND GOOD LUCK TO ALL OF YOU AND THE STATION
THIS IS ON THE LINE ON AM 820, WNYC............
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